After a summer of waiting and wondering, I have finally arrived in my new home. Poland. Gliwice, to be exact. Wondering how to pronounce it? Yeah, so was I until I got here.
Repeat after me: "Glee-VEE-tsa".
I'm feeling a little irked right now because I wrote out a whole list of topics for this first Polish blog, only to leave the list, along with key school notes, on a shelf near the butcher's counter at my local supermarket. So, I guess I'll just improvise, and we'll see how we go!
My journey began with a long and boring drive to Chicago with my mother. Don't ever let anyone tell you that driving across Nebraska is more boring than a trip through Illinois. They are either a liar or so easily amused that you really shouldn't trust anything they say. It was a misery.
After our long drive, we had the privilege of spending the night at the nicest hotel I have enjoyed outside of a Ritz-Carlton. It was the Hyatt Regency Airport, in case you're in need of a place to stay in the Chicagoland area. The beds were out of this world comfortable and luxurious. It was a wonderful send-off, and a reminder that I was likely to be spending the next year sleeping on a bed of criminally minimal luxury.
Once at the airport, I was humiliated at the check-in desk when one of my bags turned out to be a whole 2 pounds over the limit. I was told to remove 2 pounds or else receive a vicious flogging. Alright, they didn't mention a flogging, but the over-the-limit fee was $150, which is pretty damned close to a flogging...especially for a measly 2 pounds. So, I opened up my suitcase in full view of a long and winding line of annoyed people, looking for something that was both heavy and unimportant. Not a likely combination, really. In the end, I was able to wedge my curling iron and flat iron into my carry-on bag, leaving the suitcase only 1 pound over the limit. The woman grudgingly accepted it, mollified perhaps by my willingness to show all my belongings to the world in order to avoid a $150 fee.
Sweaty and demeaned, I made my way to my flight. And then proceeded to sleep not one single second of its 8 1/2 hour duration. Classic. Even more classic was that my second flight, from Munich to Krakow, was leaving from a gate approximately a mile and a half from my arrival gate. After a refreshing jog through the airport in order to make the boarding call, I was thrilled to discover that the ticket agent had assigned me to a middle seat. So, on a plane the size of my Ford Focus, I had to squeeze myself in between two businessmen, neither of whom looked overwhelmingly happy to see the sweaty fat girl stopping at their aisle. I attempted to use meditation and sheer will to reduce my girth by half, but trying not to breathe for two hours is really a little much. I have never been so glad to get off a plane in my life.
Once in Krakow, I was met by the director of studies from my school. She drove me to Gliwice, where we went immediately to the school. I looked like warmed up ass, and I had to meet my colleagues. Fantastic. In any event, I really only ended up meeting a few people, so all was not lost. The secretaries were so very nice. They had even bought me a little welcome package of groceries to stock my apartment until I could figure out how to go shopping for myself.
After getting keys and a brief orientation, the co-owner of the school drove me to my apartment. I was really keeping my fingers crossed that it was going to be a nice place since I had heard about it in emails from one of the secretaries before I arrived, but hadn't seen any pictures. In the end, it turned out to be a great apartment. The location is quite near to school (a 20 minute stroll), and it's in a nice neighborhood on a quiet street. There are a few grocery stores nearby, including a convenience store on my corner that's open until 11pm (a concept that was literally non-existent in Poitiers). A highly-recommended bakery is at the corner, as well. Bakeries seem to be everywhere here, actually. There must be at least 5 between my apartment and school, but probably more.
At this point, I could write about 10 more pages of stuff about getting settled in here, but it's almost my bedtime. 10pm. Yikes, how the hell did that happen? It's almost like I'm an adult or something...geez. Anyway, I'm sorry to cut this short, but a girl needs her sleep!
In my next post, look for detailed info about my apartment, and my first days at work. Hopefully, I'll have that up quite soon.
Take care everyone!